Tuberculosis treatment funding good value for dollar

Cuts to Canadian International Development Agency's TB treatment budget poorly timed

In times of austerity, difficult choices must be made, and it is hoped that political leaders will base those decisions on sound information and evidence.

But as the recent “death of evidence” protests indicate, the Conservatives in Ottawa have a poor record in making prudent fiscal choices.

The latest such failure is the Canadian International Development Agency’s intended 33-per-cent cut to tuberculosis treatment funding, in the face of an overall nine per cent budget cut. A lot of debate occurs as to where health funding should go, but public health experts agree TB is not one of them. Tuberculosis is easy and inexpensive to treat, with extremely high success rates.

And the social and economic consequences of cutting back on TB treatment funding are enormous. There are many global hotspots where HIV is treated at a cost approaching $1,000 a year per person, and yet one-quarter of those treated individuals will die of TB, which only costs $20 to treat.

Additionally, inconsistent TB funding has resulted in drug-resistant TB taking hold. It has even been detected in Canada. As SARS taught us, there are no borders to infectious disease.

While the loss of CIDA funding is itself hard to justify given Canada’s enviable economic position in the world, directing a disproportionate amount of this loss on one of the world’s most successful health programs is unjustifiable.

If these cuts continue as planned, this time the “death of evidence” will result in countless real deaths throughout the world.

Nathaniel Poole

Victoria

Just Posted

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Lost wedding ring found on Valentine’s Day

Dan Milbrath’s ring is back where it belongs

Victoria installation for the blind causes problems for those with mobility issues

The truncated domes installed at Blanshard and Fort streets aren’t helpful for everyone

Funds being raised for double-amputee Ecuadorean dancer

North Saanich woman is putting out collection jars if people would like to donate

New report finds some Syrian refugees struggling in job market

Government-sponsored refugees have found it more than difficult than privately sponsored refugees

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Most Read